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Chartership - Why should I be chartered?


Dr Bill Gaskarth CGeol, Chartership OfficerChartership Officer Bill Gaskarth answers some frequently asked questions about professional accreditation.

Geoscientist 20.11 November 2010

In some countries geology as a profession is regulated, very much as medicine and pharmacy are in the UK - where it is necessary to have a licence to practise. This is not yet so in the UK, though in some areas of employment professional qualifications are required (but not yet mandatory). CGeol is recognised throughout Europe as a professional qualification and is becoming recognised in many countries where the profession is regulated.

What professional titles are offered by the Geological Society?

Since 1990 the Society has offered the professional qualification of Chartered Geologist (CGeol) and has more recently been licensed to award the title of Chartered Scientist (CSci). Both designations require applicants to demonstrate their skills, experience and competence in their area of professional practice.

Which title is best suited to me and what I do?

For many Fellows, the nature of their work as practising geologists indicates clearly that the right path is to CGeol. To become chartered as a practising professional geologist you must be able to demonstrate in your application and at interview that you fulfil seven qualifying criteria by reference to the work that you do. Of these seven, two are unique to applicants for CGeol. In particular you must show that you understand the complexities of geology and geological processes in time and space in relation to your speciality, and that you are able to identify, collect, synthesise and evaluate geoscientific information to generate predictive models.

The Chartered Scientist qualification is equal in status to Chartered Geologist but does not require the proof of these two specialist criteria. All other criteria are the same and Chartership will be by reference to an area of professional practice in science. The increasing number of geology graduates employed in contaminated land specialisations and environmental science may well find that their work has taken them away from geology per se. They may not therefore be readily able to demonstrate through their work that they fulfil the two specialist geological criteria. These Fellows are geologists working as professional scientists in fields related to geology, where they have developed additional skills. It is for these Fellows in particular that the Society encourages validation as CSci.

Are there any other requirements for CSci?

The Science Council has a requirement that applicants either have a Master’s (M) level qualification (MSc or MGeol or MSci etc) or can demonstrate working to this level through the quality of their supporting professional documents.

What if I am unsure which to apply for?

Contact the Chartership Officer, and discuss your situation with him and/or discuss this with your sponsors/line manager/mentor.

Can I apply for both at the same time?

Yes, but you will need to demonstrate how you satisfy the criteria for CGeol and for CSci in separate applications.

Can I apply for CGeol after gaining CSci?

Yes, should your employment change allowing more geological work, you can. But in your application and at interview you will need to produce supporting information to demonstrate how your geological expertise/competence fulfils the specialist geological CGeol criteria.

Can I apply for CSci retrospectively, following CGeol?

Yes. You will need to produce evidence of your CPD for the intervening period (up to two years) and demonstrate working/learning at Master’s (M) level. This does not mean that you necessarily have an MSc (or MGeol, MSci etc) but that you can demonstrate, via your supporting documents that the later ones show work at M level.

Does CGeol allow me to sign off reports in all areas of geology?

No. You are Chartered for the area of your competence. Should you move to working in other areas then you must gain competence there through being supervised and undertaking additional training.

Where can I get more information?

The GSL website, at, has all the up-to-date information you need. The CGeol and CSci application forms may be downloaded and there is guidance information for candidates, along with the Society Regulations governing each of these professional qualifications.

Can I get help and advice with my application?

Yes. First, attend meetings of your local Regional Group. As a Fellow you are automatically a member of one of these Regional Groups. There you will find many working professionals who will readily advise and help you. You may also contact the Chartership Officer to discuss any aspect of your application or with specific questions.

When do I become eligible to apply?

Eligibility requires that you have had a number of years’ relevant post-graduation experience. A matrix showing the relationship between degrees and number of years experience is available on the Society website. Should you need further information then you should contact the Chartership Officer at [email protected]

CPD - a new system for a new year.

David Manning (Professional Secretary) writes:
From the start of 2011, recording Continuing Professional Development (CPD) will be required for all those who complete the CGeol application process. Good habits have started, so let us keep them going! Of course, CPD is already compulsory for those of us who are CSci and EurGeol. In response to comments from Fellows we will be revising the website pages for online CPD recording, to make them more user-friendly. More details will be revealed in December's Geoscientist.